Saturday, December 21, 2019

Preface To A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2019: Dumpster Fire Holiday

This is an image I found on the internet.  I don't know where I found it*, but I did find it in the past few weeks, & I put it in the folder on my computer where I gathered songs for this week's Self Help Radio, which is the annual Christmas show.  It's true!  When I have ideas or songs I put them in a folder.  I do it all year long.  I don't remember what I put in the folder throughout the year, so today, while I listened to songs, it was a discovery.

It rained all day in Portland, & the animals & I most stayed indoors.  I took the wife to the airport very early this morning; she's with family in California.  I ate cold pizza & listened to Christmas music most of the day, although there was a brief interruption in the entropy of radio show preparation where I took the dogs for a walk.  None of us had any fun, a couple of us pooped, & mostly we got very wet.

Something I've probably said a bajillion times on this blog is that I don't celebrate Christmas, except this show.  We bought a house earlier this year - I guess it's just been a couple or three months now! - & we didn't put up Christmas lights.  (A neighbor has colorful icicle lights I covet, but not enough to actually buy the same kind & then put them up.)  There's no Christmas tree, I am not buying anyone presents, I didn't send nor did I receive any cards, & I won't be going back to Garland for the holidays.  I haven't done that for over a decade or so now - before I left Texas the first time, I believe, I chose not to spend time with my family for Christmas.

So why do a show?  The sheer amount of terrible Christmas music I listened to today should make me think, hey, you know what?  Not only do you not celebrate this holiday in any way besides your show, you probably shouldn't even celebrate it on your show.  This is something to think about.  Is it time to utterly excise Christmas from my life?

Today was the shortest day of the year, with only nine hours of sunlight today - all of it filtered through gauzy rain clouds.  I didn't celebrate the solstice, either, but at least I acknowledged it - on Christmas Day - with the wife away, & my family farther away - I'm going to sub a show on XRAY.  Will I play Christmas music?  Well!  I haven't thought that far enough ahead!

* Luckily, the artist signed it!  So you know it's not mine.

Friday, December 20, 2019

The Dickenbock Report (The Lowdown)

(I found this image on Kliph Nesteroff's Tumblr page.)

It's official: I now do a third radio show in Portland, this one on KBOO.  That means I have Self Help Radio on Freeform Portland on Mondays, Sugar Substitute on XRAY on Tuesdays, & The Dickenbock Report on every other Thursday on KBOO.  How did that happen?  The truth is, I have no earthly idea.

When I arrived in Portland, KBOO was the easiest station with which to get involved.  They have monthly orientations, a more or less functional volunteer system, & many opportunities to help.  I have settled with working in the amazing music library, which I do every Wednesday.  & I've subbed a few times, & I sit on the Programming Advisory Committee.  But I never thought I'd get to do a show there, so I pursued other options.

Freeform was the most welcoming & that's why my baby Self Help Radio is there.  I helped out enough at XRAY that by - when was it? - October, I was offered a show there.  & I felt I was being kept busy enough - regular gigs two days a week, sub opportunities when they arose.

This weekend - on Sunday, actually, when I was working on SHR - I got an email that a slot had opened at KBOO.  Was I interested in a weekly or biweekly show?  Hells to the yeah I was.  I sent back an email saying I was interested, then another an hour later clarifying that I was very interested. It turns out I wasn't the only one interested; someone else wanted the slot too.  The Program Manager at KBOO offered us both the slot, to share every other week.  In a real sense, that was a relief - I might not be able to handle three radio shows a week.  With that settled, I had one more problem: what the hell kind of show was I going to do?

Might I simply repeat the week's Self Help Radio?  I don't enjoy repeating myself - I feel weird when I play the same artist twice in a week (although I did do that this week since I did ten & a half hours of radio this week) (it was just one artist, though) - but the KBOO show is two & a half hours, while Self Help Radio rests most comfortably at two hours.

Might I revive another radio show I've done before?  That might be nice - I really miss doing the Cradle To Grave show that I did five years ago in Kentucky.  But that seems to be a bit daunting at two hours - two & a half hours might be too much.  Also, it was nice that each part took an hour - it would be weird to have each segment take one hour & fifteen minutes.

Hey - what if I took elements of both?  What if individual segments explored different themes, & also I took the time to celebrate birthdays & commemorate death days?  & what if I couched them in a kind of fake newcast format?

That's what I did for the first episode of the Dickenbock Report.  You can listen to it here.

& maybe you can tell me what you think.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Dickenbock Report (The Teaser)

This morning was the first episode of The Dickenbock Report, a third show I am doing here in Portland at a third radio station, KBOO.  I wanted to take the time to present my idea for the show, & even give you a link to it, but circumstances (including but not limited to lack of sleep) have made it impossible for me to do so today.  Can you wait until tomorrow?

Before I knew I would get the show - it happened quite suddenly - I signed up to sub an early morning show on Freeform Portland, so that's what I'll be doing tomorrow morning from 4-8am.  Which is more like tonight to me, since I am getting very little sleep.

But if you're wondering: yes, I'm very happy with all this radio this lovely city is letting me have.  Oh my gosh yes.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Self Help Radio 121619: Gary's Favorite Music 2019

(Most covers from Discogs but a couple from Bandcamp.)

Here it is.  It's so weird to lay out so definitively your favorites of a year.  It's like when people ask you for your top ten - top ten albums, top ten films, top ten musicians - it feels like a trap.  Aha!  You said that was in your top ten but you obviously are showing your appreciation for something entirely else instead!  I just know this show would be just a little different if I were to do it two weeks from now, & a year from now, & ten years from now.

However, let's let it stand for now.  Here are thirty tracks - twenty-seven songs, two stand-up bits, & one whatever the hell Negativland does - from my favorite, most-played records of the year.  I'd love to hear yours.  If you're foolish enough to make such a list!

Listen now & whenever at the Self Help Radio website.  Remember the username & password (SHR + selfhelp).  Look at the list of songs I played in the order I played them below.  & enjoy.

Self Help Radio Favorites Of 2019
"Self Help" Momus _Akkordion_
"Gary's Song" Wild Billy Childish & CTMF _Last Punk Standing... & Other Hits!_
"Gary Lives In A Weird, Weird World" Gary Wilson & R. Stevie Moore _Fake News Trending_

"It's Over" Morrissey _California Son_
"The Life & Soul Of The Party" The Divine Comedy _Office Politics_
"In The Morning" Edwyn Collins _Badbea_
"It's Not Explained, It's Delaware" Tullycraft _The Railway Prince Hotel_
"Thomas" Spearmint _Are You From The Future?_

"All My Happiness Is Gone" Purple Mountains _Purple Mountains_
"Pulp Of Youth" The Growlers _Natural Affair_
"I'll Light Your Way Back" The Catenary Wires _Til The Morning_
"The Late People Joke" Mike Birbiglia _Thank God For Jokes_
"Life Has Turned A Page" Robert Forster _Inferno_

"Always" April Magazine _Hot Sick Vile & Fun: New Sounds From San Francisco_
"Faces" Failed Flowers _Faces_
"Hits The Bone" Jeanines _Jeanines_
"Salty Kiss" Stars On Fire _Songs For The Summer_
"Tomorrow Ends Today" The Springfields _Singles 1986-1991_

"Get High & Listen To The Cure" The Mountain Goats _Welcome To Passaic_ (Merge)
"Someday I'd Like To Be An Artist" Sonny & The Sunsets _Hairdressers From Heaven_
"Limbo" Negativland _True False_
"But I'm A Top" The Ballet _Matchy Matchy_
"I Don't Know Why I Still Love You" Rocketship _Thanks To You_

"Scarlet" The Motorcycle Boy _Scarlet_
"What A Mess!" Ellis _The Fuzz_
"Truth = Cynicism" David Cross _Oh Come On_
"Mould Lines" Thigh Master _Now For Example_
"Pay Day" Gauche _A People's History Of Gauche_

"I Turned My Back On The Written Word" Generationals _Reader As Detective_
"Saturday Night (feat. Bleached)" Hunny _Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes._

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Whither Gary's Favorite Music 2019?

(Original image here.)

All right, it's about to happen: the sort of list I hate to make because I know - I just fucking know - I am leaving something important off.  Heaven knows I try to listen to as much as possible, but it's impossible to have heard everything.  Even stuff I like - I didn't find out till a couple or three weeks ago that Spearmint released a new album!  & it's awesome but I certainly haven't listened to it as much as some of the other stuff that I've loved this year because I've only had it for three weeks!

Okay, Gary, get a grip man.  No one cares, no one's going to judge you, you'll be lucky if someone is listening, right?  Right, sure.  Fine.  Maybe I shouldn't even do this.  I don't like best of lists, I hate the idea of awards, but, but, I've been doing this since 2004.  Wait.  Didn't the show start in 2002?  Sure, sure, but you know it takes me a while to get my shit together.  That's very true.

Deep breath.  Take it easy.  It's time to say: tune in tomorrow morning from 6-8am Portstown time (it's Pacific Standard Time) on 90.3 & 98.3 fm & to listen to a very self-serving set of songs I listened to lots this year.  Plus a couple of comedy things.  & whatever you want to call Negativland.

Hope you'll listen, & maybe share your favorites here on the blog!